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    #1

    Using "if" when asking

    Hi!

    I have been wondering the difference between the following ways to ask the same thing:

    "Would you please tell me if this is normal?" vs. "Would you please tell me is this normal?".

    Is it just more formal and polite to ask with "if"? The question seems to be a bit more indirect when using if (it reminds me of a reported question), but so far I've thought it's an appropriate way of asking.

    I would be grateful if someone explained me the difference between these to ways to ask. Many thanks in advance!

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Using "if" when asking

    "Would you please tell me if this is normal?" - Is this normal?
    "Would you please tell me is this normal?". - Please confirm that this is normal.

    The second is not likely to be heard very often.

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    #3

    Re: Using "if" when asking

    Thank you, 5jj. So roughly speaking, it's usually e.g. the authority that uses the latter version and "if" is the usual way to ask?

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Using "if" when asking

    Quote Originally Posted by Frenger View Post
    Thank you, 5jj. So roughly speaking, it's usually e.g. the authority that uses the latter version and "if" is the usual way to ask?
    No. the second is more likely to be asked by someone who is having a pleasant but unexpected experience. A new teacher at a school who came into the staffroom at lunchtime and found a sumptuous buffet lunch with wine had been prepared for all the staff might ask an an older colleague, "(Would you) please tell me (that) this is normal?" The new teacher does not really believe that it is normal, but is expressing an optimistic hope.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
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    #5

    Re: Using "if" when asking

    Oh, now I understood the nuance! :) Thanks for the example.

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